Good news if you're a college student who spent all night working on that paper about colonialist themes in The Tempest: according to a recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) do not increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac arrest. The JAMA study supports the FDA's 2006 decision not to place a black box warning on ADHD medications like Adderall and Ritalin, which can increase blood pressure and heart rate.
By analyzing data from more than 440,000 adults' medical records — including 150,359 ADHD medication users and a matching control group of non-users — the authors of the study determined that there is "no evidence of an increased risk of MI [myocardial infection], SCD [sudden cardiac death], or stroke associated with current use compared with nonuse or remote use of ADHD medications." The results contradict some medical professionals' claims that users of ADHD medications, particularly children, are more likely to experience heart problems than non-users.
The study's results must come as a relief to the 1.5 million adults and 2.7 million children who are currently prescribed ADHD medications, as well as the countless high school and college students who use the drug recreationally to improve work performance and focus. Those who pop Vyvanse like Reese's Pieces, however, shouldn't be too encouraged by the study: even if you're unlikely to drop dead of a heart attack, you're still gonna get points off on your Shakespeare essay for going off on that fifteen-page tangent about why velociraptors are awesome.